We’re officially in the holiday season (I’m pretty sure it started before the Halloween trick-or-treaters got home with their candy), which means it’s time for cheesy Christmas movies. And I do love cheesy Christmas movies.
Netflix Original The Princess Switch feels like a mashup of The Parent Trap and The Princess Diaries, but it works because it embraces the ridiculousness of the concept. Vanessa Hudgens stars in the double role of Stacy, the Chicago baker who goes to the fictional monarchy of Belgravia to compete in a Christmas baking contest and Lady Margaret, a royal who’s soon to marry a Belgravian prince and wants to know what it’s like to live as a normal person. The two women switch places and romantic hijinks ensue. It’s sweet, fun, and recommended if you’re into this sort of thing.
Kurt Russell stars as Santa Claus in The Christmas Chronicles, a tale of two siblings who almost ruin and then save Christmas. Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy (Judah Lewis) lost their father and Christmastime hasn’t been the same same ever since. But Kate is still a true believer in Santa, and talks her brother into staying up to try to catch old Saint Nick on video when he visits their house. It works, and they manage to sneak aboard his sleigh while he’s delivering other gifts in their neighborhood. When he discovers the stowaways, the distraction causes Santa to crash his sleigh and lose his sack of presents, his magic hat and his reindeer. The two kids become Santa’s helpers to recover the lost items and save Christmas.
I enjoyed this one for the relationship between Kate and Teddy, as well as Russell’s mugging for the cameras. I’m not quite sure what to make of the CG elves that show up near the beginning of the movie’s final act. They’re cute, and seem designed to interest kids and sell toys… but by the time they show up, I wonder if those kids are still paying attention… the first twenty minutes sets up the Pierce family dynamics and doesn’t seem all that magical to those with short attention spans.
The Christmas Chronicles is also recommended for those who enjoy sappy Christmas movies.